Lionsgate has announced its first animated series, a new version of the 1960s animated “Speed Racer.” Variety says Nickelodeon’s 24-hour cartoon channel, Nicktoons, is on board to run the initial 26 episodes.
The new “Speed Racer” cartoon is set to launch next year, around the same time that Warner Bros.’ live-action Speed Racer, directed by the Wachowskis brothers, hits theaters.
The two properties aren’t related, although Katsumoto said he sees the theatrical “as a giant promotional vehicle for ‘Speed Racer’ the brand.”
Lionsgate has hired the New York-based Animation Collective (Nickelodeon’s “Kappa Mikey”) to help produce the new “Speed Racer.” Animation Collective CEO Larry Schwarz will executive produce, along with Speed Racer Enterprise principals John and James Rocknowski.
In the new franchise, young Speed Racer enters a racing academy for the fastest kids on Earth — and discovers that he’s the son of the legendary (and original series’) Speed Racer. He also finds out in the first few episodes that he has a brother — the new Racer X — whom he never knew existed.
Speed Racer wows the school with his Mach 6 (an updated version of the original show’s Mach 5) — the most advanced vehicle in the universe, which doesn’t run on gas. Speed and X team together to prevent villains from stealing the Mach 6 and to find out who’s behind the mysterious disappearance of their father.
Other characters returning include original Speed Racer’s younger brother Spritle, now headmaster of the racing academy. And chimpanzee Chim-Chim is now a mechanical robot.
Peter Fernandez, who voiced Speed Racer in the dubbed American version of the original “Speed Racer,” is aboard to voice Spritle.
Every three episodes of “Speed Racer” will operate together as a mini-movie but will also be divisible into a daily strip.